Monday, May 9, 2011

Beyond Bursting: the Future of BI Publishing

Publishing has some very specific connotations in the business intelligence world. To some, BI publishing is just report printing, but this description does not do justice to the many subtleties and complexities of BI publishing. As BI becomes more pervasive within organizations, the needs of information consumers increase and grow more complex, and so do the information delivery requirements.

BI publishing is more than just bursting now. It has become a much larger topic within today's enterprise. An end-to-end BI publishing solution should not only meet today's information requirements, but also lay the groundwork for the future of enterprise information generation, delivery, and secure access.

Let's look at BI publishing at the conceptual level. The objective of an end-to-end BI publishing solution is to get the right content to the right information consumer, at the right time, in the right format, and with the right level of security. The solution has to generate the content, distribute it, and provide (secure) access to it. And to ensure that all of these things happen according to plan, the solution must have an administrative layer that assures delivery and provides remedial capabilities.

A BI publishing solution that does all of these things well should be of interest to a variety of people within an enterprise:
  • BI administrators need to know that tasks have executed as scheduled, and they need to be able to validate reception of documents by information consumers. But knowing is not enough: they also need clear remedial courses of action to administer publishing processes proactively.
  • BI Platform managers need a BI publishing solution that is both scalable and extensible. Scalable, because they know that publishing needs will continue to grow as the demand for BI becomes more pervasive throughout the organization. Extensible, because line-of-business managers will continue to ask them for more enterprise publishing functionality. Knowing they have a robust BI publishing system gives platform managers the confidence they need to offer new enterprise publishing solutions.
  • Line-of-business managers need to optimize the flow of information within their business units and look for new ways to create competitive advantage. An end-to-end BI publishing solution goes beyond the generation and delivery of internal documents. As the use of BI publishing becomes more customer-facing, it becomes a key line-of-business tool, and the more line-of-business managers get from a BI publishing solution, the more they will demand.
  • CIOs and other C-level executives are looking for cost-effective ways to modernize legacy information systems. Many internal and customer-facing document generation and delivery applications reside on aging IT infrastructure. C-level executives are looking to leverage their BI investment to assume many of these legacy functions.
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